Despite promising “an announcement morning about the building of the TMX pipeline” at a campaign event the night before, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed no new information about the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Friday morning.
WATCH BELOW: The prime minister said the project will create “thousands of good jobs for engineers, trades people and construction workers” from Alberta, B.C. and across the country.
The meeting was part of a two-day visit to Edmonton, which saw the pair hold a “Team Trudeau 2019” campaign rally in the city’s southeast on Thursday night.
During the media availability Friday morning, Trudeau told reporters he rejects conservative claims that national unity is under threat.
The Liberal leader says conservative politicians are playing petty politics, which is hurting people across the country.
“Conservative politicians are choosing to play a high degree of politics, including bringing up threats to national unity, which we categorically reject,” Trudeau said Friday.
Trudeau stopped to visit workers at Edmonton’s Trans Mountain pipeline terminal, which is the start of the line that carries Alberta oil to a terminal in Burnaby, B.C.
It has been almost a month since Trudeau gave a second go-ahead to expanding the pipeline, after the courts overturned his government’s original approval.
The Federal Court of Appeal ruled Ottawa hadn’t done a good enough job with environmental reviews of the project, or consulting with Indigenous groups. Other politicians called on Ottawa to appeal, but it followed the court’s decision with more consultations.
WATCH BELOW: Justin Trudeau is asked about Conservatives’ criticism that his Trans Mountain Edmonton terminal event is “campaigning on taxpayer dollars.” He also says addressing climate change is a huge issue.
In Edmonton, Trudeau said that if it had appealed, the only people working on Trans Mountain this summer would be lawyers fighting in court.
He made no new announcements on the project other than to say that shovels would be in the ground “later this construction season.”
He also spent some time talking directly with workers at the terminal.
“The world has changed,” Trudeau said. “We’re not in a situation where a government can decide this is where we are laying down a railroad or a pipeline and it’s just going to happen.
“The processes we have to go through are more complicated now.”
WATCH BELOW: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Liberal government would continue to focus on building the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion “the right way” while ensuring a sustainable and strong future.
Trudeau said that’s why the federal government moved forward with Bill C-69, an overhaul of federal environmental assessments for major construction projects, which has been become known as the anti-pipeline bill.
“All it does is say, ‘If you actually talk with Indigenous Peoples and if you think about environmental consequences, you are going to be able to move forward in a way that will survive any court challenges people bring forward.'”
Trudeau then spoke with reporters.
“It’s important that the prime minister be here to remind Canadians that we do not have to pit one corner of the country against each other, that families here in Alberta want to see a cleaner, greener future for their kids at the same time as they need to keep putting food on their table,” he said.
“We are a government that understands both of those things.”
Alberta’s United Conservative Premier Jason Kenney said Thursday, at the closing of the annual premiers’ conference in Saskatoon, that his province is frustrated with the federal government and other jurisdictions because it can’t get its resources to market.
WATCH BELOW: Speaking at the Trans Mountain Edmonton terminal, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said consultation with Indigenous and environmental groups will allow shovels in the ground this construction season.
The Trans Mountain project has been met with court challenges in B.C., while Quebec is firmly opposed to moving oil through its jurisdiction.
“The level of frustration and alienation that exists in Alberta right now towards Ottawa and the federation is, I believe, at its highest level, certainly in our country’s modern history,” Kenney told a news conference.
He said he doesn’t think Albertans really want to separate — they just want fairness, as their province contributes billions of dollars to the national economy.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who chaired the premiers’ meeting, has also said Ottawa’s energy policies, like Bill C-69 and its carbon tax, are a threat to national unity.
Following his morning stop in Edmonton, Trudeau travelled to Calgary and he mingled with people eating lunch at a downtown diner alongside Liberal Calgary Centre MP Kent Hehr.
He had private meetings planned for the rest of the day, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.
On Saturday, Trudeau is scheduled to attend a Stampede reception for Liberal Party donors.
With files from Lauren Krugel/The Canadian Press, Kirby Bourne/630 CHED, Caley Ramsay/Global News
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